Kentucky's Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) is in the process of revising its approach to eForm submissions. This update will impact electronic submittal requirements for most air quality-related documents filed by Kentucky sources. DEP is making these changes in response to the federal Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Rule (CROMERR), which requires identity verification for online submissions. According to the agency's website, "on or around February 7th, 2017", DEP will be requiring these eForms to be filed through an account-based web application that satisfies the "identity-proofing" requirements of CROMERR. Specifically, for electronic submittals occurring after the transition, reporters must file these eForms through the Kentucky One Stop Business Portal.
DEP has developed numerous eForms to facilitate the submittal of documentation related to environmental compliance. The full library of DEP forms can be found here. Currently, submittal websites are available for specific categories of eForms. For example, compliance reports including annual compliance certifications and semi-annual monitoring reports should be submitted through the site configured for the Kentucky Division for Air Quality's (DAQ's) Field Operations Branch. Separate websites are configured for the submittal of relevant eForms to the DAQ's Technical Services Branch and Permit Review Branch. However, these websites do not require the user to establish an account and therefore do not satisfy CROMERR's identity verification requirements for electronic submittals. Accordingly, following the transition "on or around February 7th, 2017", these eForms must be submitted through the Kentucky One Stop Business Portal instead of the aforementioned branch-specific eForm websites.
DEP advertises the Kentucky One Stop Business Portal as a "one stop shop" for registering and operating a business in Kentucky. It is intended to act as a shared logon account that can be used across Kentucky's websites and services. In addition to DEP submittals, the portal can also be used to satisfy reporting requirements for the Department of Revenue and the Department of Transportation. If you already have a One Stop Business Portal account associated with a department other than DEP, you do not need to set up a new account.
The expanded use of Kentucky's One Stop Portal will be implemented in three phases:
- Phase I: By February 2017, sources will be required to use the One Stop Portal in lieu of the eForm submittal pages. Additionally, a new home page will be created, which will allow users to view the status of previously submitted eForms. DEP intends to allow a user to access eForms that were saved or submitted prior to creating the One Stop account by linking historical submittals with a specific user account. Once this linkage is established, only the One Stop Portal user and their designees will have access to the linked forms.
- Phase II: By April 2017, a digital signing utility will be integrated, which will allow users to electronically sign documents prior to submittal to DEP. The system will allow the owner of a given submittal to designate another user to view, modify, and/or electronically sign that form (provided that each user has a One Stop account).
- Phase III: By June 30, 2017, the portal will be modified to require digital signatures for select eForms before the forms will be considered submitted to the agency.
The Kentucky One Stop Business Portal should not be confused with the DEP's ePortal system. DEP's ePortal is a separate system that is designed to facilitate the electronic submittal of emissions inventory survey responses and routine notifications for the release of pollutants. While DEP intends to eventually merge the ePortal with the One Stop Business Portal, this integration will require a technology upgrade of the ePortal system. The DEP has not yet provided a timeframe for when this transition will occur.
End-of-year reporting requirements that will be submitted prior to the February 7th transition can be made through the existing eForm websites. Following this transition, eForms must be submitted through the One Stop portal rather than the eForm websites; however, the submittal of hardcopy documents will still be allowed after this transition. As such, it is recommended that individuals with environmental responsibilities for Kentucky sources create a One Stop account, if one has not already been established. If you have any questions about the required eForm submittal strategy, please do not hesitate to contact Maren Seibold of Trinity Consultants at email@example.com or (859) 341-8100 x104.